Salmon Company Shows Its Commitment to Orkney

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Meridian Salmon Group has underlined its commitment to Orkney by revealing for the first time the far reaching economic and employment benefits it brings to the region.

The company, which employs 92 people across 16 marine production sites around the islands, ploughed more than £11m into the local economy in 2012 – with in excess of £1.4m being paid in salaries.

In addition to providing a direct economic impact, Meridian Salmon Group has been regularly involved in a number of local initiatives throughout its 11 years of operating on the island including youth sport teams, a nursery, local schools and is supporting a new sponsorship initiative.

Mark Warrington, Managing Director of Meridian Salmon Group, said: “We have long standing operations in Orkney going back 11 years during which time we’ve formed strong relationships with the community and local businesses.

“For example, our workforce has grown year on year, more than doubling in the past six years from 49 in 2006 to 92 in 2012.  We know we have a superb team on Orkney who are determined to continue to work hard to produce top quality salmon.

“We want to maintain and strengthen these relations as salmon farming continues to develop positively in Scotland with Scottish farmed salmon and salmon products being internationally recognised as the premium product of their class.

“This has allowed companies like Meridian Salmon Group to help the sector to grow significantly.

“Despite the vocal minority who attempt to run the salmon industry down, more than 2100 people – and thousands more in the salmon supply chain – are now employed in the sector, which is now Scotland’s biggest food exporter and worth £1.4bn to the Scottish economy in the last four years.

“But invariably the wider national benefits overlook how important the ongoing development of the industry is to the small, fragile, rural communities whose entire livelihoods are often dependent on its success – an issue which is too often not fully appreciated.

“That’s why we are were keen to carry out this local economic impact report – and why I hope these results will be of crucial interest and importance to everyone with a concern about Orkney.”

Meridian Salmon Group recently announced it was extended processing facilities at its Kirkwall facility by installing an extra automatic line which will double the current output capacities of the plant. The extra production line created 10 long term jobs within the firm, all of which have been filled by local people.

The company’s marine sites produced more than 5,000 tonnes of own grown salmon in 2011 which made them the main supplier to local customers and hotels.

According to the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation’s 2012 Industry Research Report, direct employment across Scotland has risen from 321 in 2008 to 489; 67 new jobs were created in the last year (up 17%); and during the last five years £41.3m local wage payments have generated more than £189m of economic benefits as money earned locally is spent locally.

Meridian Salmon Group is one of the top five salmon farming companies in Scotland, employing 350 people particularly in small communities in Argyll and Bute, the West Coast, Shetland and Orkney. It operates at 61 sea sites and 19 freshwater sites across Scotland and Cumbria.

The company is unique in that it operates a combined integration processes involving salmon breeding, hatchery, farming and processing, which gives the company total control over every stage of the production cycle, resulting in fish of consistently high quality.

It is committed to best practice in its entire farming and aquaculture operations and in protecting the natural environment and eco-systems in which they operate, ensuring all its facilities operate to the highest quality and food safety standards.

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